Stony Lane Elementary School- Rhode Island
Students at Stony Lane Elementary School in North Kingstown, Rhode Island have been growing with Katie’s Krops since 2012. Annually over 380 students help their expansive garden grow and teach students how to be part of their environment (not just walk through it) and help them learn that they have an important role in helping their community, and to feel purpose in helping others.
They are most excited about their growing relationship with the North Kingstown Food Pantry. In the beginning, they struggled with syncing their harvest with the food pantry schedule. Last year was a HUGE change. In partnership with the NKFP, they were able to help establish “Farmstand Fridays.” Clients of the NKFP had the opportunity during the summer on Fridays to come and bring home fresh produce from local farms, neighbors, and the Katie’s Krops Stony Lane Giving Gardens. They partnered with their local Tractor Supply to educate people about the efforts of these young Growers. Still, they encouraged the community members to donate every other harvest, all those extra veggies, or plant a few more rows for the Food Pantry.
Stony Lane students have partnered with Youth Service America and Katie’s Krops for 911 day of service. It brought a new layer of service and they were thrilled to have the whole school involved. They created Tin Can Herb Gardens that were shared with the food pantry.
In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Stony Lane team and their families started vegetable and flower seedlings for clients of the NKPF to plant at their homes. Clients of the food pantry could grow at home during these challenging times. The first Phase was distributed on May 22nd ( over 70 plants!), and Phase 2 will take place on June 5th. On Phase 1 day, a gentleman asked if this was the same group that made the Tin Can Herb Gardens. He said that he so loved looking at the decorative labels- he felt that there was so much care and thought to them, and it made him happy when he looked at them. At the Food Pantry, it was so much fun for all to chat up gardening and learn about the Food Pantry client’s gardens.
“This is our 8th growing season, and we have had many learning experiences. There are the obvious gardening experiences: Mother Nature (being in New England and having a short growing season), animals feasting, and students learning basic gardening (conquering the fear of bugs or even getting used to the feel of soil in their hands). In the past 3 years, we have really tried to bring more of a focus on where all these efforts go- Our NK Community! Helping others is contagious and we try to instill this mindset within our Stony Lane Community. Our students range in age, and yet all help in their own way to produce our harvests. Many are curious about where food comes from and they take great pride in caring for the food that will go to our community. For us, 2019 was a big Outreach Year. Not only did we hit our harvest goal of 500 pounds, but we worked to let our community know that they too can grow for donation at home. Right as we hit the 2020 growing season, our students were moved to distant learning. We divided up tasks among the team families and kept moving forward. We started our seedlings in multiple homes and have managed to plant almost all our beds to date. One of our families were even “Garden Fairies.” We offered seeds to our Stony Lane Families and had a great response- 18 garden care packages full of seeds and a bonus tomato seedling was distributed to Stony Lane Families who are growing at home (no contact delivery of course!). What makes our Giving Gardens so special is the community feeling of our team and the fun we have caring for the garden. We miss this as we must practice social distancing and limited group size. But we are finding ways to get things done and feel connected at a time when our harvests are even more critical for our community.”